If you are looking to virtualize some of your data center and host it in the cloud, you probably have heard about Amazon's EC2 by now. But one IT shop used EC2 as a strawman to consider what they really needed from their eventual service provider. It is interesting and instructive to see the steps that WoundVision took for this process. The company produces a risk assessment software solution supported by infrared thermal imaging for early wound detection.
The company is still in start-up mode and as you can imagine, collects a lot of data for its images. Building their own infrastructure was quickly ruled out: they estimated at least half a million dollars for the kinds of equipment that was needed initially. They also were looking for something that they could quickly scale, as they have big plans and expect to grow their business, not to mention their data too. They also wanted to steer clear of on-premises solutions to enable their hospital customers to get up and running quickly on their system. They first turned to Amazon's EC2, but found that there were several limitations.
"We quickly realized there are important differences between commodity clouds and enterprise clouds," said Andrew Hoover, IT director for WoundVision. "Amazon enabled us to cheaply host our software, but offered no support besides a forum or a for-fee service." Amazon also wasn't running VMware, which was important to Hoover too. Finally, they needed better security reporting and response than Amazon offered: "Amazon's system could be under a denial-of-service attack and you would never know or be told. When I asked where records were stored, they said on the East coast. That is not good enough for us."
Because WoundVision is storing medical records, they needed to know where their data was located and be able to get direct access to various security logs as part of their compliance efforts.
The company selected Bluelock.com, a VMware partner and their Virtual Datacenter service. "With Bluelock, I know exactly where our data is, and I can get direct access to all the firewall and security logs and reports. I always know what is going on and can report on that to be in compliance. That is extremely comforting, especially when it comes to our industry," says Hoover.
Currently, they are just running two VMs on Bluelock's service, but expect these to grow as they acquire new customers and will want to do load balancing across multiple Web servers. We are absolutely confident scaling this system with Bluelock will be easy," he says.